June 15, 2022

Court strikes out suit seeking to stop poll, invalidate ’99 constitution

Shari’a Court judges

Ruling a miscarriage of justice—Counsel

ADO-EKITI—THE bid by Ilana Omo Oodua to stop the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State and invalidate the 1999 constitution suffered a setback, yesterday, as the Federal High Court Sitting in Ado-Ekiti struck out the case for lack of jurisdiction and locus standi.

The suit was instituted by the apex body of Yoruba Self-Determination Movement, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide challenging the making and validity of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

A statement by the Communications Secretary of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said the trial Judge, Banji Ikuewumi, ruled on the case despite the fact that the respondents in the case, the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are yet to file their defence or appear in court since the inception of the case.

Justice Ikuewumi declared that the INEC and AGF are not based in Ekiti State even though they carry out business in Ado Ekiti, therefore, the case ought to be instituted at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

The statement stated that the Judge also ruled that the six Plantifs who instituted the suit on behalf of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide did not show sufficient prove that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria and and the conduct of Ekiti Governorship Election affect them in anyway more than they affect two million eligible voters in Ekiti.

The Judge ruled that the six Plantifs are not enough to represent over two million Ekiti voters to institute a suit to challenge  the making and the validity of the 1999 constitution or demand for Ekiti State Governorship Election to be stopped.

Ruling a miscarriage of justice —Counsel

Reacting, the Lead Counsel to Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Tolu Babaleye described the verdict as a miscarriage of justice.  

Babaleye said: “The case came up this morning for ruling on issue of forum and locus standi raised suo motu by the Presiding Judge.  

“The court came to conclusion that the six defendants cannot represent the over two million voters in Ekiti; that the claimants have not shown how they are affected more than other Ekiti people, if the election is  allowed to go on, and if the Constitution is invalidated as they prayed for.

“The court also held that INEC and Attorney-General of the Federation are not resident in Ekiti and as such, the Court in Ado Ekiti is not the appropriate forum for the suit to be instituted.  

“Based on these reasons, the court struck out the Ilana case pending at Federal High Court Ado Ekiti this morning. I am taking immediate step to get the ruling, study it and determine the next line of action after due consultations with my clients.  

“We shall appeal against this ruling which, in my opinion, is a miscarriage of justice. The Judge should not have turned himself to a Father Christmas; he should have  transferred this matter to Abuja instead of striking it out. The struggle continues.

“We are not unaware that vote buying is a destroyer of electoral process. To show how determined we are to stop this menace; we have changed the configuration of the ballot boxes in all polling units to prevent vote buying.”